Dress Code

When the invitation to the Hail and Farewell party arrived, I noted the date, time, and place of the event.  Then I turned my attention to the bottom with dread:

Attire…Casual

There it was.  The Bermuda Triangle of dress code.

Does anyone really know what “casual” means?  There are so many variations of it: business casual, resort casual, smart casual, weekend casual, beach casual.  And even those are open to liberal interpretation.

For guys, the confusion is all about the shirt, because, let’s face it, khaki trousers are nearly always appropriate.  So that leaves him wondering whether “casual” means button-down shirt with no tie, sport coat or none, or maybe even golf shirt. I’m proud to say here that my darling husband is emerging from the “golf shirt is always appropriate” mentality.

For women, the invitation might just as well read, “Attire: yes.”  Dress or skirt?  Pants or capris?  Basically, all that the “casual” directive clarifies for me is that I need not wear panty hose, and that I should probably stay away from anything too sparkly.  That narrows it down.

This is a military social function.  The entire guest list is made up of people who are told exactly what to wear every day and the spouses who share their closets.  Leaving them so adrift on the appropriate attire is about as kind as asking them to put together a jigsaw puzzle that came in a box with no picture on the front.

Hosts and hostesses of America, you know what sort of dress you have in mind.  It’s your party.  I’m asking you: please, give us a hint.

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Filed under etiquette, military life

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